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The institute announced today the 12 projects that will take part in the intensive lab, where filmmakers can develop their scripts and take some risks, with advice from a group of accomplished writers. The lab runs Jan. 15-20.
The January lab is part of the institute's year-round Feature Film Program, which offers grants, labs and mentorship to institute fellows. This year's festival features nine movies supported by the Feature Film Program: "The Birth of a Nation" (U.S. Dramatic), "The Fits" (NEXT), "Frank & Lola" (Premieres), "Halal Love (and Sex)" (World Cinema Dramatic), "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" (Premieres), "Jacqueline (Argentine)" (NEXT), "Spa Night" (U.S. Dramatic), "Swiss Army Man" (U.S. Dramatic) and "Under the Shadow" (Midnight).
Here are the 12 projects chosen for the January lab (with synopses provided by the Sundance Institute):
• "Bull" (U.S.) • Annie Silverstein (co-writer/director) and Johnny McAllister (co-writer) • "In a near-abandoned subdivision west of Houston, a wayward teen runs headlong into her equally willful and unforgiving neighbor, an aging bullfighter who's seen his best days in the arena; it's a collision that will change them both."
• "The Gold Bug Variations" (U.S.) • Mark Levinson (writer/director) • "'The Gold Bug Variations' is a double helix of two love stories spiraling across 25 years and the mysterious disappearance of a scientist on the verge of understanding the code for life, but derailed by the search for the code for love. Script based on the novel by Richard Powers." Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship recipient.
• "Hot Clip" (U.S.) • César Cervantes (writer/director) • "A week after their best friend's fatal confrontation with a cop, three southeast Los Angeles skaters spend 24 hours chasing dreams, making trouble and trying to survive in a community on the verge of exploding." This project is the first recipient of the Feature Film Program Latino Fellowship.
• "House of Tomorrow" (U.S.) • Peter Livolsi (writer/director) • "When a sheltered teen raised inside a geodesic dome meets a rebellious kid with a heart transplant, the two form a punk band to escape an oppressive grandmother, an overprotective father, and the looming legacy of renowned futurist Buckminster Fuller."
• "In Vitro" (U.S.) • Will Jaymes (co-writer), Talia Zucker (co-writer) and Tom McKeith (co-writer/director) • "A woman kept in isolation on a remote cattle ranch discovers the disturbing truth about her existence, and becomes obsessed with reclaiming her identity."
• "The Kitchen" (U.K.) • Daniel Kaluuya (writer) and Kibwe Tavares (director) • "London, 2030: The city has become a billionaire's playground, where the working class live in lawless slums and depend on smash-and-grab forays into wealthy neighborhoods to survive. A young father, Izi, is desperate to go straight, but when his young son contracts a devastating illness, he is forced into a heist that will change the lives of everyone around him forever."
• "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" (U.S.) • Joe Talbot (writer/director), story by Joe Talbot and Jimmie Fails • "Jimmie Fails is a young African-American who dreams of buying back the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Now living in the city's last, dwindling black neighborhood with his oddball best friend, Prentice, they search for belonging in the rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind."
• "Nina" (U.S.) • Eva Vives (writer/director) • "Just as Nina Geld's brilliant and angry stand up kicks her career into high gear, her romantic life gets complicated, forcing her to reckon with what it means to be creative, authentic and a woman in today's culture."
• "Santosh" (India/U.K.) • Sandyha Suri (writer/director) • "When a widow receives a 'compassionate assignment' and assumes her husband's former role as a police investigator, she finds herself at the heart of a violent sex crime investigation steeped in prejudice and corruption."
• "Share" (U.S.) • Pippa Bianco (writer/director) • "In this cyber thriller, a disturbing video leaked from a local high school throws a Long Island community into chaos and the national spotlight as they try to unravel the story behind it."
• "Sicilian Ghost Story" (Italy) • Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza (co-writers/co-directors) • "When a local Mafia don's son is kidnapped, a young Sicilian girl refuses to accept the sudden disappearance of the boy she loves. Based on real life events at the height of the Mafia's reign, 'Sicilian Ghost Story' is a striking and unique look at the power that love has to survive in the darkest of worlds."
• "The Wolf Hour" (U.S.) • Alistair Banks Griffin (writer/director) • "A former 60's activist, who has barely left her six-story walk up in years, becomes unraveled when an unseen tormentor begins harassing her as the events of the 1977 New York blackout riots unfold outside her window."
Sean P. Means